Every year, Counting Crows play shows. Some years, they will play well over 100 shows, at least one show every three days, from Chicago to Germany, London to Sydney.
Elisabeth isn't at any of these shows - and no groupie will ever be able to fill her place.
"One of the interviewers said to me yesterday "Ya, but how bad can it be...you can have any girl you want." OK, but what if the one girl you do want is at home studying for a Ph.D., and she can't come?"
Goodnight Elisabeth is a song about the loneliness of the road, and the sacrifice that sometimes has to be made while maintaining a life lived from a suitcase. It's about landing in a foreign city, and knowing that even as the journey ends, and the plane stops at the terminal, that the one you love is still moving further from you. As your feet leave the plane, you realise that there's no stopping it...not here, thousands of miles away.
I woke up in pieces and Elisabeth
And late night phone calls, after leaving the stage...words sent across a wire from a hotel room laptop...words scribbled in a faded notepad in a foreign land...these things can't substitute for the comfort of a single touch. Words spoken, separated by a thousand miles, will never be enough when all that exists is need. Need for you to be here, right now.
I'll wait for you while she slips in something comfortable
And I'll miss you when I'm slipping in between...
Still, the women come. Not rejected. Not turned away. Well...I guess that depends on your classification of rejection - because if you're expecting total consumption, if you're expecting that Elisabeth won't be filling my mind, even as your scent overwhelms me and we fall asleep beside each other - then I'm so sorry, but you're not her. Because every day, I move further away from her, every day she slips a little further away. And you're not going to stop this slow decay.
"This is a song about the first time that we ever went out on tour. When I left home, I had the most wonderful girlfriend, and it didn't really survive the tour. This is a song about that.."
Substitute the word 'goodnight' for 'goodbye', and you'll start to get an idea about the theme of this song, of the emotion behind it. Realising that what they have experienced together is not going to survive this, this is Adam Duritz saying "goodbye...I'm going to miss you."
And the cycle continues, as the songs of 'could have beens' are written anew. First Anna, then Elisabeth. And next? Who knows who this one will be written for.
Me, i say my prayers,
Then i just light myself on fire
And i walk out on the wire once again...